WWII Photo Grouping – A PTO Mystery! Who Are These Guys?


Greetings to my dedicated readers of PortraitsofWar. I recently purchased a large grouping of 1000+ photos that was comprised of may different smaller collections. I was able to weasel out an interesting group of Pacific Theater of Operation (PTO) tactical recon group photos and do a bit of basic research. After some time on the web I’ve concluded that the following shots were taken by a unit photographer for the 110th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. Many of the photos are signed by the pilots who flew the planes depicted in the photographs. My guess is that the fellow who originally owned these photos was a plane mechanic who knew the pilots whose planes flew for the unit.

 

But who are these men?

UPDATES

Reader Responses (Thanks guys!)

From Tim:

“We Three” was a P-51K 44-12833 flown by the Maj George Noland, CO of the 110th TRS/71st TRG. Maj Noland might have scored the last P-51 kills of the war on 14 August 1945. More details are available in: “Mustang and Thunderbolt Aces of the Pacific and CBI” by John Stanaway. (Stanaway has this as a P-51K-10 while Joe Baugher’s list has it as a P-51K-15-NT).

B.N. Heyman is likely the late Bertam N. Heyman of Youngstown, Ohio.
“Bert’s education at Miami University was interrupted by World War II, where he proudly served as a fighter pilot in the Pacific Theatre. He was a decorated veteran who flew 57 combat missions during his service in the Air Force.”
From his obituary:

Side by side comparison (Obituary photo/Portrait from collection)

 

He was listed on the MACR (#15538) for A-20G 43-9625, likely as a witness as all aboard were killed. (https://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/a-20/43-9625.html).
And another post:
Thanks for posting these; they’re handsome and worthwhile.
The photo of Major Archuleta (and presumably his crew chief S/Sgt Raver) show Rubel Archuleta, of New Mexico, who was C/O of the 110th TRS from the fall of 1944 into the spring of 1945. He was a schoolteacher before the war (New Mexico State grad, I believe) and under him the 110th seems to have taken on a new personality. They had been a longtime Air National Guard outfit from St. Louis, whose insignia had featured a Missouri mule with telescopes or machine-guns; they were now called The Flying Musketeers.
The photos of Lt. Wells I believe to show Lt. Robert Wells, who had formerly been with the 82nd TRSS on Biak. Wells was hit in the head by shrapnel and managed to fly back with a hole in his skull. Surprisingly, he recovered (although it appears that he was transferred from the 82nd TRS to the 110th.) Note that he’s in a P-40, which the 71st’s two fighter squadrons were flying in the last months of 1944, before upgrading to F-6’s and P-51’s. (Much of what I know about Wells I know through the courtesy and shared photos of Michael Moffitt, whose father, a pilot with the 82nd TRS, took many photos during the war.)
The other pilots I do not recognize off the top of my head. (Harry Johnson may have been my father’s tent mate in the last months of the war. I will check.)
The photo of the 71st TRS HQ looks very similar to photos of the HQ’s for the 82nd and 110th TRS’s at Binmaley, outside Lingayen, in mid-1945. (Taken by Fred Hill of the 17th TRS, these photos can be seen online in the small collection section of the USAF Academy Library. My father, Roscoe A. “Rocky” Boyer, was communications officer for the 71st Group and the 91st Photo Reconnaissance Wing from 1942 on, and then transferred to the 110th in December 1944. Some of the officers may be recognizable from photos.
Fuller information about Archuleta, Wells, and other officers can be found by scrolling through two Facebook Pages that I run, on the 71st TRG and “Rocky Boyer’s War,” a book that I wrote around my father’s wartime diary and that the Naval Institute Press published this year.
I would be glad to post some or all of these photos the 71st TRG page. You may also wish to contact the Facebook administrator for “Lindbergh’s Own” page, an on-line site for the 110th in its current form.

 

 

WWII Memorial Post – Cape Cod Native Captain Chester E. Coggeshall, P-51 Pilot Shot Down Over Austria


The discovery of a photo and clipping from a Massachusetts flea market yields a wealth of interesting material related to the last hours of Captain Chester Coggeshall’s life.  A sad story, but one that deserves to be told.  Captain Coggeshall was born and raised on Cape Cod (Hyannis) and entered the war after attending Barnstable High School.  He flew two tours in the ETO, the first with a P-38 (pictured below) and a P-51.  His final mission of the war ended in his tragic murder.  Please read below for more details.

From http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=coggeshall&GSfn=chester+&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=2639236&df=all&

 

343rd Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group.

From Find A Grave Contributer #47444799

Entered service from Hyannis, Massachusetts
ASN – 0-754471
11 January 1944 – Joined the 343rd Fighter Squadron
March 1944 – Promoted from 2nd Lieutenant to 1st Lieutenant
April 1944 – Awarded Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal
May 1944 – Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross
May 1944 – Awarded Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal
30 August 1944 – Ended first tour of duty
MACR No. 13866
16 April was scheduled to be Capt. Coggeshall’s last mission on his second tour.
1/Lt. Walter Strauch reported: “I was flying Tudor Red three on April 16, 1945, on an escort and strafing mission. We dove down to strafe an airfield west of Salzburg (Austria) and when we pulled up to about 1,000 feet I noticed Red Leader, Capt. Coggeshall, making a very gentle turn to the left and losing altitude. I immediately started over toward him and noticed his airplane was covered in oil, and about this time he made a fast belly landing, dug a wing in, and cartwheeled. I went back to investigate and saw where the plane had hit a small brick building. There was no fire but the airplane was completely
demolished.”
Reproduced with kind permission of Mr. Robert M. Littlefield from the author’s
book; “Double Nickel – Double Trouble”

After action report from his wingman:
“Coggy was killed on the last scheduled mission of his second tour. He was leading Red Flight strafing an airfield near Salzburg and destroyed the 190 above. He was hit by flak and bellied in crashing through a building and the
airplane was demolished. It was reported that he survived the crash, but was hung by civilians who were in turn hung during the Nurnberg Trials. Believe it or not, he had flown two tours and had not seen an enemy plane in the air. A good high school quarterback and a good pilot. He was highly thought of by all.”
(Frank Birtciel)

A postwar inquiry found that Capt. Coggeshall had been executed by the mayor of the town of Freilassing, Germany. After being denied medical care, he was taken to a wooded area outside of the town and shot twice in the head by Burgermeister August Korbus. This was done by the civilian authorities of the town over the objections of German Army medical personnel. The two Nazi party officials responsible were tried and sentenced to death by a U.S. Military Court.

Burial:
Long Island National Cemetery
Farmingdale
Suffolk County
New York, USA
Plot: J, 15558

Chester and his P-38

An amazing oral history account of the story of Captain Coggeshall:

http://vimeo.com/5683417